40 :: The Shamrock Series (1899–1930)

Since 1851, the Americans were the undisputed masters of the great annual races. In 1899, Sir Thomas Lipton undertook to build Shamrock, designed by architect Fife. Lipton and Fife endeavoured to reduce water resistance as much as possible.


Beaten by 10 minutes, 8 seconds, then by 6 minutes, 34 seconds, Lipton built Shamrock II for the 1901 races, when the differences were reduced to 1 minute, 20 seconds; 3 minutes, 35 seconds, then only 41 seconds. Still with the aid of Fife, Lipton built Shamrock III for the 1903 races: still 7 minutes, 3 seconds, and 1 minute, 19 seconds slower than Reliance!


In 1914, he had Shamrock  IV, this time designed by Nicholson. But the war postponed the races. Sir Lipton came back in 1930 with Shamrock IV; defeated again, he came to be known as the world’s best loser.